Samsung HMX-H200 review
Superb image stabilisation, a powerful zoom and good video quality combine to make a top-value camcorder
Review Date: 17 Aug 2010
Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray
Price when reviewed: £215 (£253 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Selling camcorders is a tough old business right now. With smartphones, DSLRs and compacts all now offering HD video modes, the traditional barrel-shaped video shooter is under threat. So what can Samsung's budget H200 offer that an equivalent point-and-shoot camera can't?
Well, for starters, it has a huge 20x optical zoom lens, which knocks any DSLR, compact or smartphone for six. And it couples this ability to get in really close with excellent quality - there's very little chromatic aberration or barrel distortion - and a highly effective optical image stabiliser.
The latter is the H200's most impressive feature. At wide angle it smoothes out even the most unsteady of single-handed grips almost completely, and it also works well at 10x zoom if you hold the camera in both mitts. It only begins to struggle at full zoom, but that's hardly suprising given the magnification on offer. For the money, no other camera we've seen offers more effective stabilisation.
It's a promising start, and image quality keeps up the good work. The H200 shoots Full HD 1080i footage at 50 fields per second at a rate of 17Mbit/sec, 720p at 25fps, and in our tests it performed well. In our low-light test, noise was kept to acceptable levels and colours were well balanced, if a little washed out. We found the autofocus to be a little slow, but generally accurate unless the light was really dim.
Audio from the top-mounted stereo mic is clear, with a wind-cut feature for shooting in breezy conditions. And we appreciated the aperture- and shutter-priority modes, which allow you to take some degree of control over your video. It isn't an outstanding performer, but it looks considerably better in the context of its low price.
The H200's is a bargain-basement camcorder, though, and it does show through in some areas. It has a 2.7in touchscreen, and touch focus, but no subject tracking or face detection. You don't get a light or a flash, and the lens cover is a manual flick-switch job. It has neither microphone input nor a hotshoe, there's no storage built-in (you have to add your own SD card), and the build is somewhat plasticky.
If you're after enthusiast features or a luxury feel then it clearly isn't the way to go, but for good-quality video at a low price there isn't much better on the market. The Samsung HMX-H200's excellent zoom lens and optical image stabilisation make it a very tempting purchase.
Author: Jonathan Bray
- Toshiba beats retreat from consumer PC market
- Google to follow Apple with device encryption
- U2 and Apple working on "new music format"
- Ellison steps down: but who's really running Oracle now?
- Audioboo to become Audioboom in app revamp
- Apple slaps down Google and police, as it takes high ground on user privacy
- Amazon releases high-end Kindle Voyage Touch
- What's on this week's PC Pro podcast?
- Virgin carpeted again for broadband speed claims
- Microsoft set to make more job cuts
- How to check your identity hasn’t been sold to the hackers
- Tim Cook: this is how much TV has changed since the 70s
- Westminster wins the .London battle
- 20 years of PC Pro: from deep pan pizza to virtualisation
- Five reasons why the Apple Watch leaves me cold
- Apple Watch, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus: Tim Cook's Apple back with a bang?
- BT Home Hub 5: how to get maximum speed
- 20 years of PC Pro: one-star reviews (including "the worst tablet we've ever seen")
- 20 years of PC Pro: our best covers
- Why we've closed the PC Pro forums
- The 7 best Chromebooks of 2014
- iPhone 6 vs Galaxy S5: is the Apple or Samsung flagship smartphone right for you?
- How to install iOS 8 without deleting apps and data
- The best smartwatches of 2014: what's the best smartwatch?
- Nexus 6 (X or Shamu) release date, price and specs rumour roundup
- Best of IDF: top tech and memorable moments from Intel's tech show
- How Apple Pay works and how to use it on your iPhone 6 or Apple Watch
- Tech of the future... and the British boffins building it
- Abuse magnets: the people behind corporate Twitter accounts
- Putting people at the centre of software design
- How to sell more ebooks on Amazon
- 10 ways to make your business more secure
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office